ParkRun

Hi, I found. Link somewhere on this site for Parkrun so I've just registered. 

who's done them? What are they like?  I've shied away from one of the local running groups near to me because they look to be a very dedicated group and whilst I love running every other day, I'm not (yet at least) interested in how fast I go, improving my times, or anything other than bumbling along. My aim is to get fit, both body and mind and be able to say 'oh yeah, I run 5k 3x week" as if it's nothing special!  My local group seems set up for serious, long distance running so I'm a bit intimidated if I'm honest!  The Parkrun site sounds as though you can just turn up with your barcode and go off with a big group of people and it's not quite so well, serious. I don't mean I want to muck about or anything but rather, I'd just like to run at my gentle speed knowing there are others beside me with the same goal - to get round and say "I've done it", and to only have to go as and when I can commit the time. I'd feel I'd be letting the group down if I joined and couldn't go T the specified times very often. 

Just wondered what your experiences are?

FYI: I've joined Alice Holt in Farnham. Anyone else go there?

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Comments

  • Hi there - yes, that's pretty much how it works, turn up with your barcode, run, get the barcode scanned at the end, get your results. How 'serious' it is depends very much on individual events - at some of the bigger, more established ones you'll get fast club runners and even sometimes elites at the front, but you'll also usually get people at the back who walk much of it. All the past results for your event should be on the website which should give you an idea of where you might finish.

    The big advantage of parkruns for me is not having to register in advance - you can just turn up as and when you want. And you can see your own progress if you keep running the same course. But it's run by volunteers, so if you go regularly it's a good idea to offer help occasionally - marshalling, helping with the barcodes, tail running etc. 

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    Do it! - you'll meet others at your level, as you'll end up going round with them, - you may even find useful runnning buddies for you midweek runs.

    Yes, the elite crowd at the front wil be fast- not your problem- you will get encouragement even if you are last ( I've been there- it's no big deal- but check you local site's times to see where you'll come in)- and the enjoyment of running in company. Only piece of advice is that if you think you'll be at the slow end of the pack- don't start too near the front as they line up, or the faster folk will need to push past you- find a spot near the back of the start crowd- say hello to those around you- let them know you are a first -timer, they'll keep you right.

    Have fun! (and, even if you say it's not important to you, I am willing to bet that in a few weeks you'll be thinking- "I can improve my time", and racing it!)

  • I've done 3 and didn't enjoy any of them, but I dont race! I did them to try and get over my fear of running with others.. It didn't help, but I'm glad I tried it there and not a bigger event. 

    Just had a horrid panicky stress feeling for the whole run, breathing was crap, didn't feel good afterwards like I do when I run. Not a good experience.

    Mixture of runners doing it. Super speedy ttimes and jog / walkers. I started at the back thinking I would be the slowest.. I wasn't but that didn't make me feel any better! I overtook some people but then stayed behind a couple of others as I didn't know if I could sustain that pace. So that added to the negative feelings & anxiety of the run.

    First one I thought I'd feel like that so gave it another couple of tries.. Nope! Not for me. image

  • I felt exactly the same about 4 years ago. Very nervous about going and how it would be, but, it's been the best thing I have ever done. I now am a member of the '50' club and well on the way to '100'. 

    I have made a few new friends, volunteered a number of times and thoroughly enjoy the experience. 

    As for pace. Well that's down to you and how fast you want to go. You will get the same support if you are at the front, back or anywhere in between. Some weeks I go looking for a strong run with a PB, others I run with my partner near the back of the field and I enjoy both equally as much.

    Just make that first step, say hello to a few people and I am sure you will love it. 

  • Hi Laine - I have a slight vested interest in this as I am a Run Director for the Colchester Parkrun so as you can imagine I am very pro Parkrun.

    The Philosophy is that it is a free event for runners of all ages and abilities, and from a personal point of view I take most pleasure from seeing us "ordinary" runners partaking, infact my favourite volunteering task is as Tailrunner chatting with the Mum's with prams, pensioners and small kids at the back and keeping them company and offering encouragement. If we walk we walk.

    It is as serious or fun as you want, I agree with the post above that you may well find yourself challenging yourself to beat previous times image You can come along whenever you want and take part in any event across the country. 

    Pop along. The beauty of it being held in a public park is that there is nothing to stop you popping along one morning and watching what goes on and chatting to the organisers if you want. They'll be very keen to put you at ease, running in races is most runners fear and Parkrun is the perfect way to dip your toe in without any pressure.

    I hope you try it and have fun.

     

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    I have been to Conkers parkrun twice loved it both times. Turn up 5 mins in advance, small pep talk, then run, get a barcode, give that and your parkrun barcode to the officials and then wait until the evening or whenever to get your time image

    doesn't cost a penny but they accept donations via PayPal.

    my experiences I have been perfectimage

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I really enjoy parkrun. It's as relaxed or serious as you want to make it. And all the ones I've been to have been very friendly, nothing to make anyone feel anxious at all.
  • When I lived in London I did quite a few and would still do them if there was a local one around here. I think they are great events, informal, lowkey but most important of all - very inconclusive. 

     

  • parkrun is superb. I go every week I can - sometimes with by 9 year old daughter.  A huge variety of runners from 17 min speed snakes to 40+ minutes.  Really friendly atmosphere - the least intimidating running experience ever. It offers something for everyone- a manageable distance for beginners and a short speed session for more advanced runners, and a free opportunity to assess improvement every week. Also love visiting other courses round the country. 

  • I think Park Runs great - there are two I can choose from near me and it's good because the courses are very different. Bolton has a challenging steep hill that you have to go up twice, whereas the one near Wigan is more undulating and is almost like a cross country in places with very undulating terrain. I like that I can challenge myself with different terrrain, depending on how I'm feeling, and know that it will be a lovely morning activity surrounded by nice like minded people! It's so well organised and such a friendly atmosphere.

    I too used to be a "grit my teeth and just getting round is the most important thing, I don't care about my time" kind of runner but not anymore...I am regularly smashing my personal bests each week - I rocked a 27 minute time this weekend, such a buzz!

  • MeadowerMeadower ✭✭✭

    I had my first Parkrun experience on Saturday and I loved it.  

    The whole thing was very relaxed, and I'll certainly be back for more.  I'll put my name down for a spot of volunteering once I've got a few more weeks under my belt.

  • mrandyyumrandyyu ✭✭✭

    Absolutely love Parkrun and I just joined the 50 Club myself. Whenever I'm away at the weekend, I'll still try and find a local Parkrun to attend.

    For many that don't belong to a club, it's possibly the closest thing to a running community without the commitment involved. It's also my one fastest run of the week and serves as good speed work training.

    Give it a go and see how you get on. You're free to make it as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.

  • parkrun is fab. I've done 38 of them, volunteered regularly and been Run Director a few times. I'm now part of the core team at 'my' parkrun and hoping to set one up in my town. Go, it's great.

    I'm planning a weekend away and the first thing I looked at was whether there was a parkrun nearby! 

  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    Let me start by saying that anything that gets more people running (racing) is a good thing). Yet my take is less favourable.

    From my perspective, I think mrandyyu hits the nail on the head: its a good thing for non club runners as in its a running club in all but affiliation.
    For club runners I can't fathom the fascination. Sure I can understand racing , say one a month, to guage training, progress etc. but I don't get the turn up every week to run thing. Camaraderie? Possibly. But then I'd rather do a longer run on a variety of routes with friends.
    In addition, and as some have proved here, there is a fascination with chalking up 20,50 or 100 races. A few at my club were trying to get a few people along to 'celebrate' someone completing 100. Not sure I get that: I've run every saturday for years, and certainly more than 3 miles at a time. Didn't expect anyone to come along and hang up the bunting.
    I guess my compelling reason for only doing them occasionally is that I have hundreds of routes from my front door that will cover 3 miles, why be tied to the same (sometimes congested) route. If I want a measured 5k as part of a longer run, then a track does the job, or for the garmin dependent which I would say a majority of runners are these days, then the watch does the trick.

  • I'm a member of a club. I run with them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but I still go to parkrun most weeks. I also do races regularly, with my club, with parkrun people and on my own. I don't think being a club runner precludes you from enjoying parkrun. Some of the fastest runners in my club (not me at all!) do parkrun regularly. 

    As for the 50/100 thing (there's nothing for 20, although juniors get a 10 t-shirt) is more of a personal thing for me. Although I'm wearing a red shirt next week as it's a 50th run for someone. 

  • I think you just need to register - take your barcode and do the race yourself.

    You can check for finishing times online for each parkrun to see where in the field you'd be. Bear in mind that you will run faster in a race environment.

    If you hate it - you've not lost anything. If you love it then you're off !
  • Although I've only been to a few, I love the fact that I can just turn up any week to test myself, without having to book three months in advance and with no lost fees if I can't make it to one I had planned. The organisation is silky smooth with reliable timing.

    All councils should have to put them on by law.

  • I have had simialr experiences to others here.

    The first time I went (in 2009) I thought I'd be left trailling in a wake of dust (I plod at abour 30 mins for 5k), but there were other runners I could talk to whilst running.

    I've been to Reading, Basingstoke and Woodley and enjoyed them all.  I take my little dog each week and she loves it too, and she's a bit of a celeb at Reading and Basingstoke image

    I've even managed to get my 21-year-old son out of bed some Saturday mornings to run too - that's no mean feat!

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I've only done one so far but will certainly go back. The pre-run pep-talk was a bit sunday-schoolish, but the whole thing was very friendly and well-organised.

  • If anyone is interested, have a look here at the details of the 'Longest parkrun' event (7 parkruns in one day) for  Cheshire and South Manchester.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/363422140432921/?fref=ts

    There are a number of similar 'longest parkruns' in London, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Hamphire, Surrey & Berkshire, and the East Midlands as well. Details here:

    http://www.parkrun.com/crispy/longest-parkrun-2013-2/

     

  • HellywobsHellywobs ✭✭✭

    I was a club runner before I was a parkrunner and I am about to enter the 50 club.  I like doing it because it's an organised timed run that gets me out of bed in the morning and I can run with my 10 year old son or with friends or really go for a time.  I don't like running on my own, so twice a week with the club and parkrun on Saturday is ideal for me.  That's why I do it as a club runner and it also means I don't have to scrabble about to find friends to run with.  Some of them shock horror have lives OUTSIDE RUNNING.  I know I can't conceive of it myself, but they do things like DIY or seeing friends/family etc so going off to parkrun is perfect.

    I've just read the very long discussion that someone posted a link to on another thread and I find it astonishing that some people there think parkruns are a bad thing. I would have thought that anything that gets people off their bums and doing some exercise was a good thing.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭
    Dustin wrote (see)

    Let me start by saying that anything that gets more people running (racing) is a good thing). Yet my take is less favourable.

    From my perspective, I think mrandyyu hits the nail on the head: its a good thing for non club runners as in its a running club in all but affiliation.
    For club runners I can't fathom the fascination. Sure I can understand racing , say one a month, to guage training, progress etc. but I don't get the turn up every week to run thing. Camaraderie? Possibly. But then I'd rather do a longer run on a variety of routes with friends.
    In addition, and as some have proved here, there is a fascination with chalking up 20,50 or 100 races. A few at my club were trying to get a few people along to 'celebrate' someone completing 100. Not sure I get that: I've run every saturday for years, and certainly more than 3 miles at a time. Didn't expect anyone to come along and hang up the bunting.
    I guess my compelling reason for only doing them occasionally is that I have hundreds of routes from my front door that will cover 3 miles, why be tied to the same (sometimes congested) route. If I want a measured 5k as part of a longer run, then a track does the job, or for the garmin dependent which I would say a majority of runners are these days, then the watch does the trick.

    I agree with you Dustin.

    I thought i'd found the perfect parkrun, one at Dulwich, one of the few that was a fast course, and certified and counted as 5K on Power of 10.

    Went along, did it, got the pb logged, and then a few weeks later they decided to stop counting any parkrun as a 5k road race, and instead simply call it "parkrun"

    The bit that irriates me is the "it's not a race, it's a time trial bit"

    If you have an organised event, where 100s of people are being timed, that sounds like a race to me.

     

  • Have just got into regular running after too many years of slackness.  Have been to the local parkrun for the last 2 weeks and have really enjoyed the experience. 

    Agree with what some others have said about it being no pressure just dont forget your barcode!

    Also I have found it an easy way to get to know some of the local club members (obviously not the fast ones) and it lets you discuss what the local clubs are up to and see if they are your sort of thing.  Havent taken the plunge yet but will do one day im sure.

    Dont be intimdated by it and be sure to stay to cheer on the last ones!!!

  • Wow, so many replies. They are all great, and in the main, positive. I am definitely going to go along, hopefully this week so I'll have my own experience too add!

    one other thing though.. I've read that you should wear different shoes for road or trail running. I have basic (but v.comfy) road trainers, but I know the paths at Alice Holt are mainly rough terrain (trail). Will my usual trainers stand up to it, more than a couple of times I mean?

    thanks again!

    BTW, I think those of you who said I would eventually care about my time - you're probably right!! Watch this space!

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Your normal shoes should be fine, unless it rains heavily and gets muddy.

    Have fun! image

  • I agree - road shoes will be fine, but if it is a particularly weather affected cpurse (my home course definitely is) then I would get some trail shoes for wetter days.

  • Oh for the days of the hidden gem that was the BPTT. Then Paul S-H had to ruin it all by tweaking the course, making it more professional and growing it through all that postive feedback from local runners, a bit of sponsorship and a website. He even had some fairly dodgy t- shirts printed. 

    Then god forbid he started the WCTT with Ian H when BPTT got rather large. Then what happened??? It slowly but surely spread around the country like a virus and all these people started running of a Saturday morning together. Some old hands, some new to the sport, some with dogs, buggies and even iPods.

     

    of course some marketing guru had to go and rebrand it with mission statements and all that gubbins. Plus prizes, proper technical t shirts and even the odd slice of cake. And they did this for free! 

    Just glad that we have such informed real runners on here who can see through what a cult this has become. its got so bad that elite athletes, (ones that win medals and everything) turn up even though they are not contractually obliged to do so, you know ones not sponsored by Nike or Adidas. Oh, and the Nike/adidas ones kept turning up too. I blame O'Sullivan for this, she's probably one of those lizards that David Icke warned us about. i'll  sue if my kids even get inspired by being in the event as an Olympian. 

    But what event is it? why can't God, Allah, Thor, Jobu or whoever is up there have spelled it out more clearly In their teachings. Is it a race, a run, a time trial, training? This needs to be brought to the attention of Cameron as Blair/Brown failed to debate parkrun adequately in their Government. Actually, sod Cameron too; only an elite QUANGO of leading experts can solve this vital issue. We need a comittee of Obama (Michelle not Barack), Mandela, Hawking, Kim Jong Un, Jay Z & Dave Bedford. 

    Until then, if the haters want to hate, set up your own bloody run and do with it as you wish. 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    "Haters"? Where are they all in this thread. A couple of people said it wasn't for them but nearly all of them were very positive.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    chappers obviously over did the protein shakes again...

  • Stevie G . wrote (see)

    The bit that irriates me is the "it's not a race, it's a time trial bit"

    If you have an organised event, where 100s of people are being timed, that sounds like a race to me.

     

    It's a race, everyone knows that, but if they call it a race then they have to abide by UKA race rules which would rule out under 16s from parkrun.  They get insured through UKA I believe, so they have to insist that they're not races when we all know that's b*llocks.  I find it irritating too but there you go.

    I'll go if I'm taking CD junior along, he loves running them and the longest races for 10 year olds anywhere else are either 800m on the track or XC races at barely more than a mile.  At the local one there are quite a few his age and there's no point trying to tell any of them it's not a race!

    If I'm not taking him I might do one as part of a long run - there are several within running distance and a fast 5k in the middle of a 20 miler wakes you up, that's for sure!

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